​T H E   H I S T O R Y    O F   K R E S Y
Osady - Military Settlements 1921-1940​​​


Translation from the book  
Z Kresów Wschodnich R.P. Wspomnienia z Osad Wojskowych 1921-1940 
(From: The Eastern Borderlands of Poland, Memories of Military Settlements 1921-1940)
Pub: Ognisko Rodzin Osadników Kresowych (OROK) 

(Association of the Families of the Borderland Settlers) 
London, UK. 1992 and 1998
ISBN 1 872286 33 X 


IN MEMORY OF MILITARY SETTLERS
WHO SERVED THEIR COUNTRY WELL
IN BATTLES FOR HER FREEDOM AND
IN PIONEERING WORK DURING PEACETIME,
BELIEVING THAT THEIR HARDSHIPS IN LIFE
WOULD NOT BE FORGOTTEN

Introduction

The military settlement (osadnictwo wojskowe) of the Eastern Borderlands has a permanent place in the history of the Second Republic of Poland though its effect was limited to a group of people of approximately 9,000 soldiers who served their country in the battle for independence during the period of 1914-1920. The idea of settlements in the Borderlands was born in the hot days of August 1920 and received legal backing through a bill passed by the Sejm (Parliament) on 17 December of that same year.


Extracts from the Act of the Parliament of the Republic of Poland 
ACT  1 17 December 1920

regarding acquisition of land in certain districts of the Republic of Poland into State ownership
Article 6. ​This Act applies in the following districts in accordance with the administrative divisions

used to date:
1) Brześć, 2) Prużana, 3) Wołkowysk, 4) Słonin, 5) Nowogródek, 6) Baranowicze,

7) Wilejka, 8) Dzisna, 9) Nieśwież, 10) Łuniniec, 11) Pińsk, 12) Kobryń, 13) Włodzimierz,

14) Kowel, 15) Łuck, 16) Równe, 17) Dubno, 18) Sarny, 19) Krzemieniec, 20) Ostroga,

21) Grodno, 22) Lida.

(Ed note: i.e. 5 voivodeships (Wilno, Białystok, Nowogródek, Polesie, Wołyn)


ACT  2 17 December 1920 

regarding the granting of land to soldiers of the Polish Army
Article 2. The following shall be entitled to be given land given at no cost           
        a)  war invalids and Polish army soldiers who particularly distinguished themselves,          
        b)  volunteer soldiers to the Polish army who served on the front.
Article 3. All other invalids and soldiers capable of agricultural work may purchase land depending on availability.                                         

Link to full texts of Act 1 and 2 (Ustawy)

Link to an Akt Nadawczy - Deed of Land Endowment


The bill soon met with aggressive opposition in the Sejm as well as attacks from the press. Various groups that criticized this legislation, which was supported by Józef Piłsudski, (Marshal Piłsudski was Military dictator of Poland at the time) saw in the military settlement of the Borderlands a threat to their political and/or economic agendas. After two years, the operation of the military settlement of the Eastern Borderlands was suspended in March of 1923.

The living conditions of the settlers were extremely difficult in the first few years. The plots that were granted them were often overgrown with weeds and generally devastated by war and with no buildings on them. The settlers often lacked the most primitive agricultural tools and equipment at a time when soldiers’ pockets were empty.

With the passage of time, the situation of the soldiers improved. By the 1930s, articles in the newspapers assessed the accomplishments of the settlers and their positive role in the Borderlands favourably and sometimes even enthusiastically. In the east where many ethnic groups such as Poles, Ukrainians, Belarusians and Jews, as well as other smaller minorities came together as in a crucible, the settlers managed to coexist with the local population based on the principle of being good neighbours, rather than the relationship of “Polish Lord” to the Ukrainian or Belarusian “Peasant”.

The invasion by the Soviets onto Polish territory destroyed the Settlement of the Borderlands movement. The settlers and their families, with few exceptions, were expelled and deported into the heart of the inhuman Soviet land where they were decimated by disease and hunger. Some of them escaped to the free world in 1942 with the army of General Anders, but most of them only returned to their homeland after the end of the war. The settlers and their children were scattered all over the world.  

At the initiative of the children of Osada Krechowiecka in Wołyń, the first meeting of osadnicy (settlers) and their children was organized in 1983 in the scout hostel in Fenton, Lincolnshire. It was at this time that the Ognisko Rodzin Osadnikow Kresowych (Association of Military Settlers of Kresy) came into being with Czesław Pukacz, an osadnik at Osada Krechowiecka as its first president. From that time onward, annual meetings of the settlers and their families have taken place in Fenton in September, and from 1990, also in London in February/March. The love of their settlements, as well as the admiration and respect for their parents’ pioneering work, have led the members of the Association to publish the reminiscences of the “younger” generation of the settlers in the form of a book.

Source materials about the subject of the osady are sparse. The extensive archive of the Związek Osadników (Settlers’ Union) in Warsaw was destroyed during the German occupation and the fate of the chapters of the archives of the various Województwa (Provinces) and Powiat (counties) of the Związek Osadników which ended up in the hands of the Soviets, are still unknown to this point in time. Some documents relating to the Settlement Program can be found in the Centralny Archiwum Wojskowy (Central Military Archive) in Rembert and the Archiwum Akt Nowych (Archive of New Records) in Warsaw. Some periodicals of the Settlement Programme have survived in Warsaw libraries. These include: Osadnik (1923-25), Rolnik i Zagroda (1925-29), Misięcznik Osadniczy (1929-31), and the weekly Rolnik i Zagroda which resumed publication in 1938, as well as the reports of the activities of the Związek Osadników for the years 1931-33, 1933-35 and 1935-37.

In these circumstances, the reminiscences of the sons and daughters of the settlers contained in this book are an additional resource and constitute a valuable contribution to the history of the settlement program, as well as providing a window onto life in the Borderlands in that era. It is true that the authors of these reminiscences have reached back to a time of their lives more than 50 years ago, but this was the time of their carefree childhood days which were tragically interrupted by their deportation to Siberia. As a result, that time has remained frozen in their memories, preserving the freshness of a good photograph. These memories have undoubtedly been supplemented by the stories told by their parents who by talking about the difficult early days of the settlements, strove to evoke in their children pride in the accomplishments of their parents, as well as in their osada origins.

The editorial committee appointed to oversee the planning of the book decided to publish all the reminiscences sent to them, in all 128, of which 12 were written by surviving settlers or their wives. These last-mentioned twelve reminiscences are to be found in the first section of the book. The remaining chapters contain the reminiscences of children of the settlers organized according to the Województwo (Province) where their settlements were located. All the articles refer to osadnictwo wojskowe (settlements of military origin) with the exception of four articles that deal with osadnictwo ciwilne (civilian settlements). Most of the reminiscences are from the Województwo of Wolyń (71%) with 18% from the Białystok-Nowogródek region and 15% from the Polesie area and 3% from the Wilno (Vilnius) area. The text of the articles is preserved in its original form, omitting only those parts that do not relate to the Settlement Program.


OROK (Ognisko Rodzin Osadników Kresowych) - a short history


Pre-war  Memories from military settlements

Index

(Click links on left.  Translations of the remaining recollections are in progress and will be uploaded in due course)


art nr
Name of Osada

Province

(Województwo)


Name of author

Maiden

Name


Summary

FORWARD


 

002

Klemens Rudnicki
Reflections on the Settlement Programme and its legacy written by Gen. Rudnicki in Antokol, 1992, a few months before he died.

003
KrechowieckaWołyń
Janina SmogorzewskaStobniak 
A study of the economic, social and political context of the military settlements that is evidenced by the individual recollections listed below.

RECOLLECTIONS WRITTEN BY ORIGINAL SETTLERS




004
Radziwiłłów-BemowoWołyń
Piotr Jankowski

The story of hardships and working together to develop virgin land but also of a week-long relay horse race.

005
Rejmontów Wołyń
Anna Bielińska

A newly married couple leave for their honeymoon to start life on a settlement.

006 

Wola Korybutowiecka 
Wołyń

Marta Korszańska


A wife recalls the social life in the settlement whilst building a future. 

009
BałakowszczyznaNowogródek

Aleksandra Nowicki

A settler after conscription into the Russian army, volunteered in Piłsudki’s legions and contributed to victory at Lida over the Bolsheviks.

010
KluczNowogródek
Józef Wysocki

Drafted into the Russian Army, captured by the Germans, Wysocki fought for a free Poland but civilian life was not easy. 

RECOLLECTIONS WRITTEN BY DESCENDANTS OF SETTLERS 

013
ZabużePolesie

T. C. Kryński

Making a living from the land amongst Belarusian and Ukrainian villages.

016

Kuropol
Wilno

Bolesław Polnik


Boyhood memories of home in Kresy.

019
ŻydomlaBiałystok
Alicja PolaninOrechwa
A soldier awarded the Virtuti Militari in the Battle for Warsaw, settles in Kresy but ends up with a family of 4 generations in Chicago.

021
AdampolNowogródek
Józef Rojek

A survivor recalls life as a 12-year-old and dreams of returning to Adampol to dig up treasured possessions.

028
ŁohwinowiczeNowogródek

Bogdan Trybuchowski

Includes excerpts from Bogdan Trybuchowski’s book Polskie Drogi 1940-2000 (Polish Trails) with more information from this author.

029
Mały Olżew, SzczytnikiNowogródek

Alina KawulokDrozdowska
Life on the estate that had been confiscated by Russia in 1863 but reclaimed by Polish settlers in 1920.

031 


Niechniewicze 
Nowogródek

Feliks Wdowczyk


 This family of eight children farmed the land and owned a restaurant in Nowogródek but faced local communists who burnt settler’s barns.

033 

Puzieniewicze 
Nowogródek

Stanisław Świercz


Colourful  anecdotes in this account of life on a settlement.

034
ChlewiszczePolesie
Halina Papowszek

Żaboklicka


Settlers regarded by local population as the “salt of Poland”.

035


ChylinPolesie
T.Sobierajski

The author tells of mixed relationships with other nationalities in the area.

036

Chylin
Polesie
Maria WylotWoźniak
As in the song "The Spell of Polesie", life in the settlement has a charm of its own. 

039
KopańPolesie
Maria DoleckaKrólikowska
The author remembers many of the settlers and their roles within this settlement.

040
OsownicaPolesie
Jadwiga DabrowskaKorta
Birthplace of a  Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs.

041

042


Osowce

Osowce

Polesie

Polesie


Tadeusz Kralski

​Henryk Nowicki



Two descriptions of a small settlement on land once owned by Eliza Orzeszowska, (1841 - 1910) a Polish novelist and leading writer.

044
TrebiezówPolesie
Halina Szulc
Sobocka
A family devoted to settler’s issues and involved with the community on a settlement with an abundance of snakes.

048
AntoninWołyń
Aleksandra RymaszewskaJarmulska
Sixteen households and some of their fates.

049
ArsonowiczeWołyń

Genowefa KwiecińskaStaniszewska
Amid many executions, Mr Staniszewski was saved by local Ukrainians.

050
BajanówkaWołyń

Krystyna Ostrowska Chyży

A young girl taken on a journey to collect a copy of the "miraculous" image of Our Lady of Częstochowa for the new church on the settlement.

059

060


Dorotycze

Sarny-Dorotycze

Wołyń

Grazyna Dabrowska

Wiesława Chmura 

Wizgird

Misztel


​Two short accounts of the osada by survivors who were young children at that time.

061
DrozdówWołyń
Teresa PalejDomalgalska
Tales of settlers who didn't get on well with each other.

062
HallerowoWołyń
Zofia Bronowicka

Pasik


Zofia describes childhood dreams dashed by war and deportation to Archangelsk.

063
HallerowoWołyń
Jadwiga PawłowiczPleciak
Born in an earthen cabin, Jadwiga dreams of the most beautiful days of her life with summer picnics in beautiful meadows.

064
HallerowoWołyń
Irena RybiczonekBudzyń
Bountiful orchards planted by settlers and a visit by General Haller after whom the settlement was named.

066
JaninaWołyń

Mieczysław Więckowski


A courageous widow defends her property from thieves.

068
JanówkaWołyń
Tadeusz Walczak



This story features a number of photographs of people who lived on the settlement.


070
JazłowieckaWołyń

L. Cabut

Settlers built a new church and with donations such as wedding rings purchased a replica of the Częstochowa Black Madonna.

071Jazłowiecka
Wołyń
Karol Olszewski

Tales of old die-hards of the 14th Jazłowiec Lancers Regiment whose "selfless efforts ...just burst like a bubble of soap”.

074
KarczówkaWołyń

Józef Pajdowski

Irena Bieżańska


Pajdowska


From the wilderness to a model farm in 16 years but then the Soviets took all of the horses and destroyed everything.

076 
KościuszkoWołyń

Jerzy Kondziela

​Alicja Kondziela


Szalast


A detailed description of the geographical location, social makeup and community life on this settlement from the arrival of the first pioneers until the outbreak of 2nd World War.

077

078


Krechowiecka

Krechowiecka

Wołyń

Wołyń


Danuta Gradosielska 

Danuta Gradosielska

Mączka

Mączka


Danuta describes the organisation of the settlement and her life and family who lived there.


079

Krechowiecka
Wołyn

Jan Kulik

The eldest brother of five describes life for his family.

080
Krechowiecka Wołyń
Janina MisikGóral
Janina spent school holidays with her Aunt and Uncle here.

081
KrechowieckaWołyń
Czesław Pukacz

A detailed recollection, honouring parents whose development of the settlement taught their children work ethic, love of country and how to be productive.

082
KurhanyWołyń
Maria KruczkiewiczKacperskaA  settlement with many connections to graves.

083
KurhanyWołyń
Stefania Borowy
Kacperska
Detailed list of settlers and the day to day life on the settlement

084
Kurhany and ChorówWołyń

Stefania Borowy

Stanisław Borowy

Kacperska
Stories from two settlements set amidst local Poles and Ukrainians which were allocated to soldiers of the 21st Infantry Division.

085 

ListopadówkaWołyń
E.P.BrzezińskiThe writer's intention is ​to remind those that come after us that our fathers and we lived there. It was our home and our land. It was Poland.

087
MaczkowceWołyń
Zofia Repa

Stepek


Memories that bring on tears.

088
MaczkowceWołyń
Bronisław Wawrzkowicz

Extensive descriptions and photos of the settlement.

090NarutowiczeWołyń
Janina Walbach Warzecha

A short account of this Osada


091NawózWołyń
Zdzisław MichalskiA settler whose family possessions are on display in a museum

094

OstrówWołyń
Zyta SzulejewskaRzehak
A brief description of the settlement as Zyta was very young

095PiłsudczankaWołyń
Maria FilonOleśShort account from the eldest daughter, the only survivor from a family of seven.

096
Pomorzanka
Wołyń

Józef Ćwirko

"Even now, during lucky chance encounters, we greet each other like neighbours."

097
PomorzankaWołyń
Teresa RafalątMiłoszewska
"Now, even after so many years of exile... I can still see a picture of my happy childhood."

099RadziwiłłówWołynAlina ŻbikowskaMusiał
A family whose three men were taken by the whirlwind of war

100
RejtanówWołyn

Dorota JasińskaJarosz
Tales of a settlement with uneasy relationships

102
Reymontowicze
Wołyn

Eugenia ZakładaPopsowska

“...it was a barren land, but they left  behind beautiful houses, farms, orchards, and churches."

113
Szwoleżerów 
Wołyń

Rozalia GordonReich
“If not for WW II, what a vibrant, rich Polish culture would have pulsated on the soil of Wołyń!”

114
Szwoleżerów 
Wołyń

Krystyna Walak

“In such a short time, they accomplished so much and had such wonderful plans for the future.”

115
SzyłyWołyń
Jerzy Rzegota-Januszajtis

A dismissed General wins respect from local Ruthenians and settlers.  His actions save workers from an out-of-control bull.


116 
TeklówkaWołyń
Janina KruszewskaPawlik
Janina describes her family and includes many photos of the settlement.

117
TopuleWołyń

Tadeusz Lachowski


Wreaths of flowers were floated down the river in the moonlight during May celebrations and people danced until midnight.

118 
Ułanowice

Wołyń



T.Dela

Short description of the settlement and the names and fates of the settlers.

119
UłanówkaWołyń
Halina BąbikRafał
This settlement with fascinating history, consisted entirely of men from Jaworski’s cavalry; heroes who earned distinctions in the war with the Bolsheviks.

123
Wola KorybutowieckaWołyń
Maria Krystyna KalagaCieślinkiewicz
​Description of settlement including a list of settlers and plot numbers.

124
Wola PiłsudskiegoWołyń
Teofila Rachel Kowalska 
Rachel describes a settlement of thirty families with rivalry between cavalrymen and infantrymen. 

127
Wola WilsonaWołyń

Helena MoczulskaWęglarz
A short  description of life  on the Osada including a list of settlers.

128
WółczekWolyń
Genowefa GuzewiczSzymańska
Witold Szymański’s (129 below) sister Genowefa recounts her memories of the osada she calls 'heaven'.

129
WołczekWołyń

Witold Szymański

This recollection tells of the inspiration for the settlement name and the deep-felt longing for the life long gone - “remembering my childhood, I write about it for the next generation”.


133
Education and Formation of Settler ChildrenWołyń

Magister Danuta Marszlik-Lubanowska

Reminiscences of working in the Settlers Union Lower Secondary School in Równe, Wołyń from September 1937 until February 1940.

136


Kosy-DwórNowogródek

Regina WalczakSobieraj
A story dedicated to a mother who on her own in subhuman conditions and at the price of self-denials and sufferings, managed to save the family from death.

137
ArmatniówWołyń
Helen B CheekKozioł
A settler who was a good husband and a passionate beekeeper, written by his only daughter.

 POETRY  







140
Young Settler's HymnWołyń
Ewa Olszewska
Pszczółkowska



141
Uściług na WołynieWołyń
Ewa Olszewska
Pszczółkowska



142
Poems"Kresy", "Miedza" 

Ewa OlszewskaPszczółkowska


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Poland 1930 Administrative Regions

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